Although Chandigarh has received Rs 512 crore — Rs 412 crore as loan from the French government and Rs 100 crore as grant-in-aid from EU — for the 24X7 water supply project, residents fear financial burden will be transferred to them and they will be paying higher bills.
Chandigarh Smart City Limited Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Municipal Commissioner Anindita Mitra confirmed the development.
While speaking to The Indian Express, Mitra said, “We have received Rs 512 crore — Rs 412 crore loan and Rs 100 crore grant-in-aid from EU. Tenders are under preparation and shall be floated by December.”
There were series of meetings with the French officials, that is of the AFD, and Chandigarh Smart City over the project of 24X7 water supply. On a pilot basis, the first assignment would be undertaken in Manimajra.
For the much talked-about project, Chandigarh had been seeking a loan of Rs 412 crore which they would repay within time.
The residents, however, felt that the loan would be a burden on residents as it is they who will have to shell out more water tariff for the 24X7 water supply.
Earlier, when a representation was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office about why Chandigarh required this 24X7 water supply when it was already using excess water, the Chandigarh Smart City Limited had stated that the project aims to increase saving/minimise wastage of water as there will be no storage of water by the public.
According to the Smart City Limited, 24×7 supply delivers better quality water for public health. Also, 24×7 supply gives better service to all consumers as there is access to clean water with improved quality and quantity, timing and pressure, it was stated.
The Chandigarh Smart City Limited said that with this 24×7 supply, they aim to “revolutionise service to the poor”.
The residents maintain that the city is already drawing more than the mandated national norm. Their question is: “But do we really need continuous water supply even when the consumption is already high?”
WHAT A STUDY SAYS ABOUT CITY’S WATER SITUATION
Chandigarh requires more of rationing of the available water supply than the 24X7 service.
Sectors in north use more water than those in south in Chandigarh, as per a study by public health wing of the corporation. The study found that residents of northern sectors were using over 1,000 litres of water per person per day against the national norm of 135 litre per person per day. All posh sectors use between 934 litre and 1,376 litres of water per person per day.
Residents of some sectors like 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9 are drawing more than 1,000 litre per person per day. The per person consumption in VIP Sector 3 was 1,163 litres per day while that in Sector 4 was 1,376 litres per person per day. This is even higher than the consumption per person in villages or colonies.
The reason was found to be the size of houses which was one kanal or more in these sectors and drinking water used for irrigation of lawns. The consumption of water in southern sectors was far less. The consumption of water in Sector 56 was as less as 138 litre per person per day.
RESIDENTS SAY BURDEN TO REPAY WILL COME ON THEM
As water tariff was recently hiked, residents stated that the hiked water tariffs would be a routine now. For, the loan has been taken from the French agency AFD and would have to be repaid.
Officials stated that the loan is to be repaid in 15 years with a six-year moratorium period. The amount will be repaid through water bills, that is to be paid by residents. Rates will be increased after a few years. The total cost of the project is Rs 590 cr.
A city that is already drawing more than the mandated national norm is looking at 24×7 water supply.